Alas, Gardening Season is Over

So, its been a busy year — not that I blogged, but busy none the less.

I got a full-time job . . . in July!  That didn’t bode too well for the garden . . . horribly, actually.  After much soul searching, I cut the CSA season short.  I just couldn’t keep up.  It was painful — mostly for me, I think!  Everyone else seemed to take it with some amount of grace.

I also had booked a whole bunch of art shows . . . which also led to the shortening of the season.  I would like to report that we did well . . . but we didn’t.  Anywhere – but, Canton, IL.  That first time show ROCKED!  So that part of my life is also being re-evaluated.

I did not order new chicks this year.  It’s time to take a break from the twice a day going to the barn and worrying about the wild life and the weather and all that stuff.  There are on going discussions about tearing the barn down and building my own workshop.  But tonight that may have also been shelved.

I did submit some photos to a book . . . 1,000 beads – which will be out in April, 2014.  Everyone I know will be very sick of seeing me carrying around my copy!  I looked at Lampwork Etc (a forum that I belong to but rarely look at these days) and I can tell you that there are some really cool lampwork beads that are included in that book.  I am humbled to be included.

The family went to San Francisco for five days.  That was an adventure . . . . I would love to go back again someday.

I joined the electronic age — am typing on my brand new iPad Air with blue tooth keyboard.  I would hope that I can now take some pictures and get them posted to the blog more often!

 

So, stay tuned to see what’s next in the adventures of Twisted Chicken Beads, Etc.  

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Monday, September (really!) 19, 2011

Wow – August did just whiz by — even without me pushing it along!

Most of the outside garden stuff is done producing . . . now for the clean up process!  But in the hoop houses — there are peppers still blooming, and spinach and lettuce sprouting.  Now, if I could only get the lights to work correctly.

Another sign of fall — one morning, while sitting on the deck enjoying a quiet moment with my coffee/book I heard a strange noise coming from the barn . . . finally decided that it is one of three new roosters trying out their voices!  Imagine a teenage boy shouting with all their might and the strange cracking that would go along with that.  They are just beginning to crow – not consistantly, not the same one – not even every day.  So hopefully the hens will start laying in the not too distant future — eggs, anyone?

In the mean time – while it has been cooler I haven’t gotten to the torch as much as I would like to — I have new tools and some more coming soon.  Saturday I took a good portion of my inventory to the Galesburg Civic Art Center – I am the October Artist of the Month!

 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Thanks to Kay — it is now August!

But this really is about Thursday or Friday last week — my short-term memory is so bad.  I went out to feed/water/turn loose the chickens and discovered a fairly young opossum swimming around in my rain barrel.  I told my mother that in the spirit of my Uncle John (a REAL farmer) I fished out the possum and took it, by the tail, into our wooded area and tossed it over the fence!  John and I found a possum in his corn crib once while checking the cattle.  It was larger and had something to say the whole way to the creek that we pitched it over that day.  The recent one I think was happy to not be swimming any more and didn’t complain a bit.

In other farm news I have a complaint — all the forecasted rain either didn’t fall at all or fell someplace other than my house!  For instance, Saturday morning I was in Morton at the bicycle race/fine art fair (that part was very small!) and it rained for about 20 minutes — a nice gentle, straight down rain – thank goodness for those of us under tents, but it didn’t happen at my house where I would have danced in it!

Sara went to school on Friday — and Tyler started back at ICC today . . . he had to ask me for underwear today because I folded last night (it’s his month to do that) and put all his clothes in my room . . . . he swears he’ll fold the sheets that have been in the living room for two weeks tonight . . . . next time his underwear disappears for good!

Monday, 08/15/2011

Well, that didn’t last long did it — it seems that gardening season just takes over everything — every good intention I have of keeping up with anything just goes right out of my head!  But things are slowing down — some!  I have fought the battle of the weeds, and again, have lost.  But there is always next year.  Next year’s list has already begun:

Buy more black plastic:  while I hate the black plastic in theory I love what it does to the weeds . . . for years I tried landscape fabric, but if it’s not weighted down properly (which I never got to) the weeds just come up underneath it.  Some of my plastic is on it’s second year and is doing quite well — inspite of being left outside all winter long.  So, the plan is to pull up the plastic and store it in a hoop house for the winter and move it around for next year.  The tomatoes did wonderfully planted in the plastic — next year I’m going to plant eggplant and squash on the plastic so I don’t loose them in the weeds!

Decide what to do about the first two hoop houses and ventilation — would love to add roll-up sides to them, but it’s about $1,000.  Not sure I want to invest in that . . . . not sure how much the alternatives will be, so — may just go along as we have been.

Negotiate with the spouse unit about moving some of the black raspberry plants around . . . . again with the plastic.  The plants on plastic are doing very well — whether that is a function of the plastic or more sunlight (mostly in the morning), I have no idea.  Not to mention that I could turn the current raspberry area into a larger asparagus patch that just requires mowing and mulching . . . . not to mention – MORE ASPARAGUS.  Thinking I won’t get too much flack on this one.

Not order so many seeds.  And pay better attention to what I’m ordering (coulda sworn those mountain magic tomatoes were cherries — alas, too large . . . but beautiful and plentiful!).

 

In the mean time — I have lit the torch a couple of times — yesterday’s are still in the kiln . . . and have two day’s worth at the sink ready to be cleaned.  I have printed out two art show applications . . . . in Iowa for September — think I’m going to go for it!

And have some more stuff photographed and put on etsy . . . . and in March when my phone contract is up I’m gonna get a touch screen and a square for the credit card thingie . . . . and – hmm, I’ve started looking for employment for the winter . . . when will I squeeze that in?

 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The green beans are still out there!  I have picked 45 pounds today for the Good Earth Food Alliance CSA! Ok — Sara helped pick 25 of those yesterday and bagged them all for me!  I LOVE when she comes out to the garden to help — once she quits whining about it she is good help and chatters on about what is going on with her and her world!

Annette and I were in Pekin yesterday for a fund raiser at Goodfellas — the food was great, the crowd was ok — and several ladies said that they would call about hosting a party!  Do you know that you don’t have to wait to find us out and about but can book a home party?!  We come to you, bring all our stuff, set up, sell, clean up and disappear — forgot —  you get 15% of the sales in free stuff!  And what could be better?  Your guests get to take everything with them right then, no waiting for the box to show up, see who got what, and try to get their what to them . . . . what a pain!  We are pain-free!  And you and your friends get first crack at new, exciting, one of a kind pieces of jewelry — for yourself or as a gift — no one will have anything like it!

So — back to the gardening — the weeds are killing me — and the garden really needs some rain!  Sam is doing a wonderful job of keeping the weeds out of the peppers this year, but the deer have mowed where he weeded the soy beans . . . luckily the plants are smart enough to know to bloom down farther on the stem so there will still be fruit!  And the stupid, ok, make that smart, coons are killing the chickens and me . . . can’t seem to trap them and I don’t know how to use the guns . . . . maybe I should learn so I can sit out there and wait — there were two in the barnyard when I went out to lock the birds up last night!

Wednesday, July 6, 20011

I have a really good excuse for not keeping this up . . . . it is now officially green bean season!  30 pounds for the Good Earth Food Alliance yesterday . . .  and lots of others out there yet to be picked.  I took squash blossoms with little zucchini still attached to my friend Jo — she sent me a recipe from epicurious.com — zucchini blossoms stuffed with tomatoes and parmesan.

Today is Maisie’s first vet appointment in Elmwood — I so had forgotten what it was like to have a puppy around.  This morning, while I was pulling all my garlic, she ran over some black plastic (tomatoes) and I thought some large ground animal was about to eat me . . . . we have critter issues here at the farm.  Thank goodness, it was her playing!

So, I have a huge tub of garlic/walking onions on the deck that need to be taken care of . . . have decided to bundle all for my customers and give to them at once to hang in their space so I don’t have to remember to deliver some here and some there (vegetable delegating at its finest!).  Save some of the larger heads for replanting in October (suppose I’ll know where they are by then?), and have Tyler mow the whole patch down.  Andrew said he would work in the barn this weekend and some of that chicken manure could go right there!

Annette, Janet and I went  to the National Women’s Music Festival in Madison WI last weekend!  We snuck out and went to the Madison Farmer’s Market — WOW, was it packed with farmers and shoppers both.  I don’t know why Peoria can’t have/support such a wonderful market.  All the booths were staffed by the farmers and the prices were a little lower, and some tables were empty!  You could barely walk and certainly not at a fast pace through the crowd.

Wednesday, June 22

Now the sun is out — I headed out this morning (notice “early” was not part of that statement) to pick black raspberries and it started to MIST . . . heavily.  So I came in, washed dishes so I could wash eggs . . . . still misting, sat down at computer did some fun bookwork — and now the sun is out.  Sara, of course, is still in bed, but I think I’m headed back out to the raspberry/weed patch . . . . By the time Tyler gets out to mow the grass between the bean rows he could probably bale it and sell it . . . ok, we’ll use it for mulch.

I lost a chicken yesterday — think it was to the heat — which won’t be a problem for the next few days – thank goodness!  The new chicks are growing by leaps and bounds already — they are mostly feathered out and look like miniature chickens.

Think I will head back out to the torch today and make some more stuff.  I had promised Amy B a “bitch, bitch, bitch” necklace for the next fundraiser (her husband, Tracy, was recently diagnosed with ALS and they are working on chasing down alternative therapies that will help him) in July.  I made a couple of “bitch” beads, but want to make some more.  Am also headed to the National Women’s Music Festival in Madison, WI.  Am going with Janet Hill from Free to Bead (Peoria Heights, IL) and Annette (partner in crime) for the 4th of July weekend.

Never a dull moment here — Angie reminded me this morning that this Friday — June 24, is Art on the Boardwalk at Junction City in Peoria, IL.  Remember — support your local artists — buy  your gifts from local people — support your local economy — shop farmer’s markets (it tastes bett,er too!).